How to Make Money as a Freelance Social Media Manager

By Ibrahim Okunade


Side Hustles

Ibrahim Okunade

Ibrahim Okunade

Writer & Career Coach

Social media managers are pivotal in helping businesses thrive online in today’s digital age. With the growing importance of social platforms, there’s a tremendous opportunity to turn your social media skills into a profitable side gig. This article is your guide to making money as a freelance social media manager, offering valuable insights and practical steps to tap into this lucrative market. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, get ready to transform your passion for social media into a source of income.

How to Become a Social Media Manager

Becoming a freelance social media manager opens doors to a dynamic career at the heart of digital communication. Let’s explore the skills and requirements needed to get started.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Strong Communication Skills: Social media managers must have excellent written and verbal communication skills to craft compelling and engaging content and effectively interact with followers and customers.
  • Social Media Savviness: A deep understanding of various social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, and others, is crucial. You should know how each platform works, its audience, and best practices for content creation and engagement.
  • Content Creation: Proficiency in creating various types of content, including text, images, graphics, videos, and more. Basic graphic design and video editing skills can be a significant advantage.
  • Strategic Thinking and Creativity: The ability to develop and execute a social media strategy aligned with overall business goals. This includes setting objectives, creating a content calendar, and analyzing data to refine the strategy. Creativity is equally essential as trends often come and go on social media. You must be able to creatively take advantage of prevailing trends to build brand relevance and engagement.
  • Analytics and Data Interpretation: Knowledge of social media analytics tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and others. You should be able to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and use data to make informed decisions and optimize campaigns.
  • Customer Service: Social media managers often serve as the front line of customer service, responding to inquiries, resolving issues, and managing customer relationships in a professional and helpful manner.
  • Time Management and Multi-tasking: Managing multiple social media accounts, creating content, and engaging with followers on each platform require effective multi-tasking and time management skills.
  • Certifications: While not always required, certifications in social media marketing or related fields (e.g., Meta Blueprint) can enhance your credibility.

Social Media Manager Duties

A social media manager is essentially the voice and strategist behind a brand’s online presence. Their duties are multifaceted, encompassing content creation and community engagement, aimed at nurturing a strong digital identity and fostering meaningful connections with the target audience. Some of their specific duties are:

  • Content Creation and Curation: Social media managers develop and post engaging and relevant content across various social media platforms. This specific duty may include the development of a  content calendar to ensure consistent posting and alignment with marketing initiatives and events. They also curate and share content from other sources that align with the brand’s image and interests.
  • Social Media Strategy: SM managers develop and execute a comprehensive social media strategy that aligns with the organization’s goals. They identify target audiences and tailor content to appeal to them. Social media managers also set specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for social media campaigns.
  • Community Management: The duty of a social media manager also includes monitoring comments, messages, and mentions on social media channels and responding promptly and appropriately. By doing this, they foster positive interactions and engagement with the audience.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Social media managers track the performance of social media campaigns using analytics tools. They analyze data to assess the effectiveness of strategies and make data-driven adjustments. With the result of their analytics, they prepare regular reports on social media metrics and present findings to stakeholders.
  • Advertising and Paid Campaigns: Freelance social media management is a form of marketing side hustle. Social media managers create and manage paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms. They optimize advertisement budgets and optimize ad campaigns to achieve desired outcomes.
  • Adherence to Legal and Ethical Guidelines: A social media manager ensures that all social media activities comply with legal and ethical standards, including copyright and privacy laws.

Where to Find Clients as a Freelance Social Media Manager

As a part-time social media manager, finding clients who need your services can be a rewarding endeavor. However, it requires strategic efforts to build a client base. Here are some effective ways to find clients in this competitive field:

  • Freelance Platforms: Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr are popular platforms where businesses and individuals post projects and hire freelancers. Create a compelling profile highlighting your skills and experience, and actively bid on relevant job listings.
  • Networking: Leverage your professional network, including friends, family, and former colleagues, to spread the word about your services. Attend industry events, conferences, and meetups to connect with potential clients and fellow professionals.
  • Social Media: Since you’re a social media manager, what better place to find clients than social media? Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter/X, and Instagram to showcase your expertise. Share valuable content, engage with industry influencers, and participate in relevant groups and discussions.
  • Personal Website: Create a professional website showcasing your portfolio, services, client testimonials, and contact information. Optimize your website for search engines to increase its visibility.
  • Cold Outreach: Identify potential clients and reach out to them via email or social media. Craft personalized messages explaining how your services can benefit their business and solve their specific pain points.
  • Content Marketing: Start a blog or create informative content on platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. Share your expertise on social media trends, best practices, and case studies to demonstrate your knowledge and attract potential clients.
  • Referrals: With every job successfully executed, you can ask satisfied clients for referrals and testimonials. Word-of-mouth recommendations can be one of the most powerful ways to secure new clients.
  • Local Businesses: Approach local businesses and offer your social media management services. Many small businesses may need a stronger online presence without knowing it. You may need to convince them to see how they could benefit from your expertise.

It’s important to remember that building a client base takes time and persistence. Tailor your approach to your target audience and continuously refine your skills and marketing strategies to stand out in the competitive freelance market.

Pricing Your Services

The ultimate aim of becoming a freelance social media manager is to make extra money on the side. Thus, knowing how to price your services is a critical aspect of achieving this goal. Your pricing strategy should strike a balance between competitiveness in the market and ensuring your work is adequately compensated.

Factors to consider when determining your rates include your level of expertise, the complexity of the work, the platforms you’ll manage, the frequency of posting, and the client’s budget. Typically, you can use a fixed pricing system or set hourly rates.

Fixed Pricing

With fixed pricing, freelance social media managers offer clients a clear and structured fee for their services. This approach simplifies the billing process and provides transparency to both parties. Social media managers often create predefined packages that include specific services such as content creation, posting schedules, community engagement, and performance reporting.

Fixed pricing can appeal to clients as they know exactly what they are getting for their investment. However, freelancers must ensure that their pricing accurately reflects the time and expertise required to meet the client’s objectives. This way, fixed pricing can be a straightforward and efficient way to establish trust and deliver value in the freelance social media management industry.

Hourly Rates

With hourly rates, freelance social media managers charge clients based on the amount of time spent working on their projects. This pricing model offers flexibility and allows for billing clients for the actual hours worked. Hourly rates are suitable when the scope of work varies from project to project, making it challenging to predict a fixed cost. According to Glassdoor, freelance social media managers earn an average hourly rate of $28 per hour.

For hourly pricing to be fair and effective, the freelancer and the client must track and document the hours worked accurately. This approach can be advantageous for clients who want to maintain tighter control over their budgets or need assistance with specific tasks on an as-needed basis.

Five Tips for Becoming a Social Media Manager with No Experience

“Oh, I have no experience. Can I become a social media manager?” This is a common question many ask, and the answer is yes, you can. This is why this section explains how to become a social media manager with no experience.

Self-Education and Skill Development

Invest time in learning about social media platforms, their features, and best practices. Online courses, webinars, and tutorials can provide valuable insights. Consider enrolling in courses related to social media marketing and digital communication.

Start with the fundamentals of social media marketing. Understand the core concepts, such as audience targeting, content creation, engagement strategies, and analytics. Gain in-depth knowledge of various social media platforms and their unique features. Learn how to create, optimize, and manage profiles effectively. Gradually, you can become proficient enough to market your services and earn cool cash.

Build a Portfolio

Your work portfolio is very important. While formal work history may be limited, a well-constructed portfolio can effectively showcase your skills and creativity to potential employers or clients. Begin by curating content that exemplifies your expertise in managing social media platforms. Create and manage personal or volunteer accounts for various niches or interests to demonstrate versatility in content creation and audience engagement. Be sure to include examples of your writing, graphic design, photography, and video editing skills to convey a well-rounded skill set.

Further, highlight any relevant projects or campaigns you’ve undertaken, even if they were on a small scale. Detail your approach, the challenges you faced, and the outcomes achieved. If you’ve collaborated with friends, local businesses, or non-profit organizations to manage their social media accounts, feature these experiences prominently in your portfolio. Clients and employers often value real-world application and initiative, even if it wasn’t in a formal job capacity.

Gain Certifications

As a newbie with no experience, relevant certifications can boost your credibility and open doors to opportunities in the competitive field of social media management. These certifications equip you with foundational knowledge and signal to potential employers or clients that you are committed to mastering the craft. Certificates from reputable programs like Meta Blueprint, Google Ads, HubSpot, and Hootsuite demonstrate your proficiency in key areas such as content strategy, advertising, analytics, and platform-specific skills.

While certifications aren’t substitutes for hands-on experience, they can act as a bridge, allowing you to gain practical knowledge and showcase your dedication to continuous learning and professional development. When combined with a strong portfolio and a proactive approach to staying updated on industry trends, certifications become a powerful tool for kickstarting your career as a social media manager and building a solid foundation for future success.

Networking and Job Hunting

There isn’t a short supply of part-time social media managers. Therefore, you can’t afford to rest on your oars and wait for the jobs to come to you. You need to network proactively. Attend industry events, webinars, and social media marketing conferences to connect with professionals already established in the field.

Job hunting is equally essential. Begin by actively searching for entry-level social media positions, such as social media assistant or coordinator, as these roles often require minimal experience. Customize your resume and cover letter to highlight your relevant skills, certifications, and any volunteer work or personal projects you’ve undertaken.

Master Soft Skills

Beyond technical expertise, social media managers need exceptional communication, creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. Effective communication is essential for crafting engaging content and engaging with audiences. Adaptability is crucial in the ever-evolving landscape of social media, where trends change rapidly, and problem-solving skills come into play when addressing issues or crises online. Developing these soft skills enhances your professional capabilities and makes you a well-rounded and desirable candidate for social media management roles, even if you lack formal experience.

Overall, knowing how to become a social media manager with no experience is all about actively making up for the absence of a traditional job history with a combination of strategic moves.


All in all, breaking into the world of social media management may seem daunting, especially with no prior experience. However, by following the strategies outlined in this article, you can embark on a rewarding journey toward becoming a highly sought-after social media manager. The digital landscape is ever-expanding, and there’s no better time than now to start your social media marketing side hustle. With dedication, you can leverage your passion for social media into a thriving freelance career. So, why wait? Take the first step today and begin your exciting adventure as a freelance social media manager.

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Ibrahim Okunade

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